Reluctant Games delivers in clutch for Radnor

RADNOR >> Emily Games didn’t want her number called in penalty kicks. She kept saying no. She kept shaking her head.

“Technically, I’m not good under pressure,” Games explained. “So I didn’t want to let my team down. But everyone kept coming up to me, asking me to do it and step up. So I did, eventually. It was a lot of pressure, but it worked out in the end.”

In the seventh round of penalties, Games’ rocket to the top right corner gave No. 15 Radnor the victory over No. 18 Penncrest in the first round of the PIAA District One Class AAA tournament Tuesday. The Raiders won the shootout, 3-2. The score was tied 0-0 after regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods.

The Raiders advance to the second round of the tournament Thursday to face No. 2 Pennsbury. That will be a mighty challenge. So will calming down from this thriller.

“The personality of the girls was unbelievable,” Radnor coach Mike Welsh said. “We are now 10 games in a row unbeaten and they’re so resolute. When things aren’t going our way … they’ll dig in, they’ll fight for each other.”

In penalties, and throughout the game, goalkeeper Alexa Soloman was doing a lot of that heavy lifting. She made four saves during the game, but stopped five of the seven shots she faced during penalties.

Most of all, with the penalties tied at two, she stopped shots in the sixth and seventh round of the shootout to give her team a chance to win.

“I was just trying to keep my composure, I was just trying to make them go one way because that’s the only way you can do it,” Soloman said. “Just keep my head in the game.”

Welsh thought the victory slipped after Radnor failed in its two opportunities to win on penalties in the standard best-of-five. But then he remembered that Soloman was in net.

“Our goalkeeper, Alexa, she’s been brilliant all season,” he explained. “Not conceded many goals. I knew she’d save one more.”

When Games won it, she went directly for Soloman. Their teammates followed, making a dogpile near the goal.

“I literally just sprinted straight toward Alexa because she made (five) saves and that I think was the biggest part of all of it,” Games said. “That was great.”

Maura Holst scored for Radnor on its first kick. Gia Martyn evened it in the third round, with Abby Lord answering right back. Tara Higgins’ clutch kick tied it in the fifth round. All the while, Kayla Allen did everything she could to keep the Lions in the game.

The senior goalkeeper made seven saves during the game, but the cruelty of penalties did her team in. This loss will be a difficult one to digest.

“It definitely is,” Penncrest coach Mike Deleo said. “I give credit to the girls, they worked hard. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to coach with.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply